CIIE enters fourth year: Why does China persist?
By Duan Fengyuan
The 4th China International Import Expo is scheduled to be held from November 5 to 10 in Shanghai, China, November 1, 2021. /CFP

The 4th China International Import Expo is scheduled to be held from November 5 to 10 in Shanghai, China, November 1, 2021. /CFP

The fourth edition of the annual China International Import Expo (CIIE), the world's first dedicated import exhibition, will begin in Shanghai on Thursday with the participation of nearly 3,000 businesses from 127 countries and regions.

As the pandemic continues to ravage the world, many major international exhibitions have hit the pause button, but the CIIE is going as planned, with its popularity increasing every year. So, what is the source of China's confidence and determination to overcome difficulties and hold the event as scheduled?

From 2018 to 2021

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May 2017 that China will hold the CIIE starting from 2018.

Over the past three years, the CIIE has become a major platform for international procurement, investment promotion and cultural exchange. And the reason for this success can be best described in Xi's words: "CIIE has enabled exhibits to become traded goods and exhibitors to spot more investment opportunities."

The first CIIE attracted over 400,000 buyers from home and abroad to Shanghai, the second CIIE witnessed the signing of tentative deals worth over $70 billion, and last year, over 3,800 enterprises from over 180 countries, regions and international organizations attended the third CIIE, during which 411 new products, technologies and services were exhibited. 

This year, 58 countries and three international organizations will join the online country exhibition, among which 15 countries will make their debut, according to the CIIE bureau. Meanwhile, 90 enterprises from 33 least developed countries will also attend the event. 

With an exhibition area of over 360,000 square meters, the fourth CIIE is expected to attract a higher number of enterprises and more countries and regions than the last edition. 

Momentum for global economic recovery

China is now the world's second-largest economy, the largest recipient of foreign direct investment, and one of the world's largest consumer markets. 

Its gross domestic product (GDP) has exceeded the 100-trillion-yuan (about $15.47 trillion) threshold and expanded 9.8 percent year on year in the first three quarters of this year, with the average two-year growth standing at 5.2 percent, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed last month.

In the third quarter (Q3), the country's GDP grew by 4.9 percent year on year, slower than the growth of 18.3 percent in Q1 and 7.9 percent in Q2.

Despite the falling growth, China has staying power due to an expanding domestic demand supported by a super-scale market of over 1.4 billion people and effective policies to boost consumption, while it has seen steady progress in the country's major projects set for the 14th Five-Year Plan period, said an NBS spokesperson.

The upcoming expo will undoubtedly promote this process as over 80 percent of the world's top 500 companies and industrial leaders that attended the previous expos will be present at this year's event, and the overall number will exceed that of last year, according to the CIIE bureau.

Meanwhile, the CIIE is an epitome of China integrating into the grand circulation of the world economy and promoting common prosperity with its own development, giving a boost to the country's new development paradigm of "dual circulation."

Following the completion of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, 2021 marks the beginning of China's 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025), as well as the start of its journey to fully build itself into a modern socialist country.

During the period, the country will strive to foster a new development pattern that features the domestic market as the mainstay with domestic and international markets reinforcing each other. 

The new development pattern China envisions "is not a development loop behind closed doors, but more open domestic and international circulations. We will do so not only to meet China's own development needs but also for the greater benefit of people in all countries," said Xi when addressing the third CIIE.

"Hosting this global trade event demonstrates China's sincere desire to share its market opportunities with the world and contribute to the global economic recovery," he added.

Search Trends